Datebook | Events calendar (May/June 2018)

Your guide to Caribbean events in May and June, from Guyana’s debut Carnival to a pineapple festival in the Bahamas

  • Photo by Teeography courtesy Question Mark Entertainment
  • Photo by Maria Fernanda Gonzalez
  • Photo by Marc Bruxelle/
  • Photo by Andrew Bickell courtesy The Segway Polo Club of Barbados
  • Photo by Sea Wave/
  • Photo by  Blacqbook/
  • Photo by Guruxox/
  • Photo courtesy
  • Photo by Design Pics Inc/Alamy

Don’t miss . . .

Indian Arrival Day

5 June

On this day in 1873, the first East Indian immigrants disembarked from the Lalla Rookh and set foot in Dutch Guiana — now called Suriname. For over forty years, until 1916, more than 34,000 “Hindustani” labourers travelled to Suriname, many of them remaining after the period of their indentureship. Over a century later, Indo-Surinamese preserve their cultural traditions and celebrate the arrival of their forefathers. Concerts of baithak gana songs, the sharing of Indian cuisine, and the laying of wreaths and flowers at the Babi and Mai monument in Paramaribo — memorialising the mythical first “father and mother” to come to Suriname — are just some of the festivities.

Indian Arrival Day is also commemorated in Guyana (5 May) and Trinidad and Tobago (30 May): important occasions to contemplate where our ancestors came from, and where we are going.

If you’re in . . .


North Coast Jazz Festival

26 May

A two-hour drive from Port of Spain through the verdant hills of the Northern Range will take you to the quaint coastal village of Blanchisseuse. On the surface, the burgeoning bed-and-breakfast community seems quiet, but it’s a hub for adventure — hikes, fishing trips, kayaking, and also the annual North Coast Jazz Festival.

With the slogan “Born Here, Play Here,” some of T&T’s best musical acts will perform on stage at the Blanchisseuse Recreational Ground. An eclectic combination of artistes including acoustic bands, soca stars, jazz sensations, and gospel artistes will showcase their creativity. Look out for local favourites Arthur Marcial, Xavier Strings, Dean Williams and Friends, the Michael Dingwell Band, Kay Alleyne, Nyiida Andrews, and Olatunji.

Former Port of Spain mayor Louis Lee Sing, one of the organisers, says Blanchisseuse has a lot to offer visitors. He recommends supporting the art and craft of the village artisans, trying Mr Gilbert’s pumpkin ice cream, and of course taking in the rugged beauty of the north coast. So, jazz enthusiasts: if you’re looking for a beach excursion or weekend getaway, the friendly villagers await.

. . . MIAMI

Miami Film Month

1 to 30 June
Venues around Miami

Miami seems to have it all: beautiful beaches, vivacious nightlife, historic architecture, and a vibrant arts scene. Each month of the year is dedicated to a tempting activity, too. In June, moviegoers can enjoy discounted admission at participating cinemas, as the city celebrates Film Month. Movies made in Miami and by local filmmakers will grace the big screens. Are you a filmmaker yourself? This might be the perfect time to shoot or pitch your film project. Industry stakeholders, film crews, and executives will be within reach.

During the year, Miami hosts many film festivals. Just in time for film month, for example, the American Black Film Festival runs from 13 to 17 June. Imagine five action-packed days of red carpet premieres, masterclasses, celebrity conversations, tech talks, exclusive parties, and more, as African-American culture is celebrated through film. Lights, camera, action!

. . . GUYANA

Guyana Carnival

18 to 27 May
Venues around Guyana

In the beginning there was Mashramani — and it was so nice they’re doing it twice? Not quite. Guyana’s inaugural Carnival will hit the streets of Georgetown this May. Although similar to Mash — the traditional “celebration after hard work” following Christmas and culminating on Republic Day (23 February) — Guyana Carival will be its own thing, with an exuberant array of all-inclusive parties, concerts, and boat rides. Of course, jamming behind the music trucks on a magnificent day filled with fun, frolic, and attractive costumes is an inevitable part of the experience. Prepare to be hooked!

Event previews by Shelly-Ann Inniss

Marvellous May

Grand Bahama Junior International Rugby Festival

Freeport, the Bahamas
Players aged eight to eighteen engage in a fun-filled weekend of friendly competition
11-14 May

Grenada Chocolate Festival
It’s the food of the gods. Experience the infinite possibilities of the island’s delicious organically produced cocoa and chocolate
11-19 May

Segway Polo in Paradise 

Teams from various countries participate in the traditional sport with a modern twist
18-21 May

IMASUB Underwater Photography Contest 

The beauty of aquatic life is captured in Cuba’s spectacular marine waters|
29 May – 2 June

Pineapple Festival Bahamas

Gregory Town, North Eleuthera
Four days of pineapple-themed activities: eating and cooking contests, pineapple-crazy sports, traditional games, and more
31 May – 3 June

Joy of June

Calabash Literary Festival

Treasure Beach, Jamaica
Music, readings, and storytelling have inspired roots in Jamaica, with branches extending to the wider world
1-3 June

Placencia Belize Lobsterfest

Over fifty booths will serve up mouth-watering Belizean cuisine, including an extensive menu of lobster dishes
22-24 June

Pride Toronto
A special Family Pride programme, Trans Pride, the Dyke March, and the fabulous Pride Parade are in store at one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world
22-24 June

St Kitts Music Festival

Venues around St Kitts
A magical extravaganza of music, featuring Chakademus & Pliers, Patti Labelle, Fetty Wap, Nailah Blackman, Kes the Band, and more stellar artistes
27 June — 1 July

Funding provided by the 11th EDF Regional Private Sector Development Programme Direct Support Grants Programme.
The views expressed on this website are those of the the authors and do not reflect those of the Direct Support Grants Programme.